Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Break (FINAL WEEK) & Adventureland - Week 11

This week was our last chance to work on our "summer bucket list."  It is my last week working part-time and Skyler's last week home prior to starting 6th grade.  It has been a great summer but I always wish we could have accomplished more.  Here is a list of some of the fun things we did this week:

A coon that we spotted in the timber this week

  • We hadn't yet made it to an amusement park for the year so we decided to give Adventureland in Des Moines a shot this year.  We had a great time...but in the end decided that (in our opinion) Six Flags in Chicago is a bit more fun -- at least for Skyler's age.  Enjoyed spending that fun day with Skyler!  
  • Planted 2 food plots in the timber;
  • Went for a bike ride;
  • Planted my fall garden;
  • Flew a kite;
  • Shot our bows almost every day;
  • Went to bookbag night at Skyler's school;
  • Played "volleyball" over our clothes line in the backyard;
  • Went on our first squirrel hunting trip of the year...we had a great time hiking around the timbers as a family;
  • Went to the library;
  • Skyler gave Shadow another much-needed bath;
  • Went boating on the Mississippi with our friends Jayme and Brooke.  This was the first time any of us had been boating on the Mississippi even though we have lived here most or all our lives...;
  • Played rummy;
  • Saturday I helped my friend Megan Klauer photograph a wedding;
  • Went canoeing on Lake George with Aunt Jessi, Zach, Papa and Karen.  We spotted lots of fish and got up close and personal with a green heron;
  • Met Paul at his work for a picnic lunch;
  • Skyler getting ready for deer season
  • Went to our friends' range and practiced shooting several different rifles to get ready for deer, coon and squirrel seasons.  It seems we have officially kicked over into fall/winter mode and we will be at the range regularly from now on.  It was such a fun day with beautiful weather!
A picture of Skyler at Adventureland
Here we are before the log ride got going...

I did it...I posted about every single week this summer - whew!  So glad I got to be home more than normal and spend lots of fun time with Skyler!  Whether it was spending time during super fun activities or in our down time, I just enjoyed being with my awesome daughter.  Hope you all enjoyed your summer as well!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Break - Week 10

We kept busy finishing up Skyler's basement room.  We then decided to redo one of our retaining walls near the basement walkout.  So most days found us working on one of those projects.  I gotta say -- we need to start up something called Wheelbarrow Workouts!!  My body was sure feeling the effects of wheelin' wheelbarrows full of dirt and rocks...uphill!  So other than planting new bushes/flowers, the retaining wall is completed.  I am so glad that Paul is so handy and can figure out how to do just about anything...otherwise we'd have to pay to have so much done...this retaining wall included -- it looks great Paul!
Sky and I with Ali and Fran at the XStream Cleanup

Sky Lilly and Fran posing in front of an old car

What skyler may look like when she grows up  ;)
  • I did the final touches on staining the deck -- so that is completely done for the year.  
  • Deadheading flowers in the garden. 
  • We worked on preparing the vegetable garden for my August plantings.
  • I made 3 batches of salsa and froze a bunch more tomatoes for our winter use.
  • For our second year in a row, Skyler and I participated with our friends Ali and Fran in the Xstream River Cleanup organized by the Living Lands and Waters (Chad Pregracke).  We chose the heavy-duty cleanup station on and around VanDruff's Island in Milan.  It is amazing how many things people just throw to the doesn't just disappear.
  • Practiced pitching with Skyler.  Now that we are allowing her to pitch full speed, being the catcher is pretty much a death wish.  Her pitches come at me so fast I hardly have time to react to catch them!
  • Skyler and I picked up our reduced-price tickets to go to Adventureland next week - woo hoo, can't wait!  
  • Went to Incredible Pizza with our friends Ali, Fran and Lilly.  I usually make it a point to stay away from places like that...but we really had a great time!  Got to play laser tag, air hockey, miniature golf, bumper cars, etc.
  • Hauled boulders and rocks for our neighbor.   
  • Spent a lot of time playing with and caring for our new chicks that hatched under our chicken this week -- they are incredibly cute!
  • Redid some old landscaping in our backyard.
  • Skyler got to go break open geodes with her friends before they returned to California.
  • I decided to do a quick little photo shoot with Skyler on my day off Wednesday.  Skyler wasn't up for going to a different location so we stayed close to home.  I love the shots with Shadow since he is Skyler's best bud!  One thing I discovered about Shadow is he HATES cameras.  He would be perfectly looking at me with a smile until I put the camera up -- then he would turn his head and wouldn't look back!!  I think he thought it was a gun!  :)
  • We did several jobs for a couple of our landowners like mowing a yard, cleaning gutters, fixing a smoke alarm and fixing a road crossing...all for the mere joy of being able to hunt their lands.
Here are some of the shots from our little photo shoot...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Break - Week 9

Skyler attended Blackhawk College's College for Kids all this week.  For those of you not familiar with this program, kids with top grades are chosen to attend this very exciting week of classes.  The children choose their top 10 from a list of classes to take for the week -- a lot like college.  Out of the 10 choices made, the kids are put into 3 classes for the whole week.  Skyler attended Holocaust Remembrance, Calligraphy, and Cartooning.  She really enjoyed her classes and learned so much every day!  On Friday a Holocaust survivor came to speak to her Remembrance class -- something she will always remember.  So although our time was more limited this week due to this great program, we did still get some fun in:

Skyler's Basement Playroom - BEFORE pics

Skyler's pre-teen room ALMOST AFTER -- still more work to do
  • We visited grandma and grandpa and got to meet our newest family member, Chelsea the Chiwawa who replaces my parents' much-loved Chiwawa, Candy, who had to be put down the previous week after a long, happy and spoiled life  :);
  • Saturday Skyler and I ran the Crimestoppers 5K race with our friends Megan, Coe, & Chase and Bonnie and Ben.  Chase won one of the 100 bikes -- congrats Chase!;
  • Attended the Duck Blind Drawing at Loud Thunder where we got to hang out with friends we haven't seen much lately;
  • Made one of several treks to the timber this week to set up our last tree stand for deer season;
  • Worked on Skyler's downstairs room by removing the little wallpaper animals and clouds, mudding and taping new drywall and painting the walls and floor while Paul replaced the walk-out door and installed trim.  We turned her room into more of an pre-teen room rather than a little kid's room.  Still have a bit more painting and trim to do before it is all completed;
  • Went to our friends' Tracy and Barry's pool party;
  • Skyler went to a second pool party this weekend;
  • Skyler and I made our first "fast food" run of the summer...that stuff is still yucky so it will be another long time before we make another run to a fast food restaurant;
  • We started initiating 1 of our 2 downstairs cats to becoming an outdoor cat this week (which is a big deal here with Skyler the animal lover--however, the cat is adjusting well);
  • Skyler got to play with some of the neighborhood kids;
  • Shot our bows quite a few nights again this week;
  • Skyler spent the day with one of her friends from school;
  • Took a couple long late-night walks;
  • Worked in the garden pulling weeds and digging up potatoes; and
  • Started dumping some of our old downstairs furniture.
This week looks to be better for us -- with more time to fit in fun stuff...hope you are filling up your summer with fun activities with your kids!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Break - Week 8 and our WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!

Skyler and Karlie prior to running the Jr. Bix Friday night.

A buck Paul and I would love to shoot.

Skyler next to Aunt Tonia and Uncle Dan's Camaro before her big "spoiled" day :)
We had a lot of fun this week.  Saturday was our 17th Wedding Anniversary (22 years together -- whew it all goes so fast)!  Unfortunately it was such a busy day we hardly even got to see each other but I am incredibly thankful for a husband who makes every day special so we don't have to set our sights on only one day!!  I am pretty lucky to have picked the most genuine, kind (and hottest) man I know to spend the rest of my life with!  Thanks for putting up with me all these years Paul!  In addition to our Anniversary, this week we:
Skyler and Addi at the park
Skyler pitching.
  • Went shopping for school supplies for Skyler's 6th grade class;
  • Met our friends Megan and Addi to play at Camden park Monday morning;
  • Shopped for some new school clothes since Skyler has been growing like crazy;
  • Went to Skyler's softball tournament on Monday night.  They were seeded 2nd in the tournament because of the awesome year they had. Unfortunately Skyler's team did not win their game and their season is now concluded.  Skyler got to pitch part of the game and only allowed 3 runs.  Congratulations girls on a great season and congrats to the coaches as well!  Paul thoroughly enjoyed coaching the girls and they all really love to be around him!;
  • Skyler went to Papa and Karen's a couple days while I worked;
  • Went for supper at Applebees;
  • Renee, Alex, Skyler and I played frisbee golf at Camden Wednesday morning;
  • Friday night my friend Julie and I watched Skyler and Karlie run the Jr. Bix in Davenport;
  • Saturday morning I ran the Bix for my second year in a row finishing with almost my exact same time as last year...just over 1 hour and 2 minutes.  I would have like to have done better than last year, but I really haven't been training enough to up my time, so I am pleased;
  • Saturday I helped my friend Megan Klauer photograph a wedding and reception;
  • While I was shooting at the wedding Paul and Skyler got to go out to the timber as well as going swimming at a friend's pool;
  • Sunday Skyler got spoiled by her Aunt Tonia who took her to the latest Harry Potter movie at the IMAX theatre, took her out for lunch at Texas Roadhouse, bought her a new pair of shoes at the mall, got a pedicure and took her out for Whitey's ice cream (All this while Skyler got to ride in Tonia and Dan's Camaro convertible which she LOVES)!  Skyler was really excited when she got home cuz unfortunately, living with us, she doesn't get spoiled too often.  Thanks Tonia for giving her a great day!;
  • Played Rummy before bed;
  • Push mowed yards for about 3 hours Wednesday;
  • Shot our bows in the backyard most nights;
  • Practiced pitching with Skyler;
  • We went to Blackhawk College with friends one last time to go over the class route prior to Skyler's College for Kids next week;
  • Went out and worked at our food plots on Sunday (Paul worked in the food plots with Skyler and with Joe some other days this week as well);
  • Stained our back deck.
Skyler's team after their last game of the season...Congrats girls!
This week promises to be another busy one -- maybe not a lot of time to fit in too much fun stuff -- but we'll make up for that before school starts.  Hope you enjoy your week!